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RECORDS MANAGEMENT IN THE LEGISLATIVE ARM OF GOVERNMENT IN NORTH-WESTERN STATES OF NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background to the Study

Records are what organizations cannot do without. Reitz (2004) consideredrecords as a document in any form created or received by any agency or person, accumulated in the normal conduct of business or affairs, and retained as evidence of such activity. It is also an account of something, put down in writing, usually as a means of documenting facts for legal or historical purposes. According to Decree Number 30 (1992), records mean:

All papers, registers, printed matters, books , maps, plans, photographs, microfilm, cinematographic films, sound recordings or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics made or received by public or state offices, or by business houses of companies private bodies or individuals in pursuance of their legal obligations or in connection with transaction of their proper business, but does not include library or museum material made or acquired solely for reference or exhibition purposes, extra copies of record kept only for convenience of reference or stock of publication.

Records are the basis for decision making, accountability and transparency.They are vital resources that document the institutions performances. They are important primary sources of information during investigations and prosecution and as an area of focus in corruption prevention. With a few exceptions, examinations carried out by various organizations and researchers point to poor records system as having largely contributed to corruption in public institutions (Oyedokun 2010). Records can either be a tangible object or digital information, for example data bases, office documents, e-mails, etc. Wyorkson&Obasuyi (2010) defined records as “evidence of an event.”

It is a document of an activity that will or has taken place. Records are documentary evidence about a person, place or thing. Every piece of record contains information. A record,therefore, is a piece of recorded information. Similarly, ISO (2001) as cited in Oyedokun (2010) also defined record as information created, received and maintained as evidence by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations or in the transaction of business or government activities.They are also unique and irreplaceable sources of information without which the distinctive human creative and adaptive characteristics cannot flow to the fullest extent possible.

Records management is an aspect of general administrative process which is concerned with achieving effectiveness and efficiency in the production, safeguarding, use and disposal of records during their entire life cycle. It is the field of management devoted to achieving accuracy and economyinthe systematic creation, retention, dissemination, observation, use and disposition of official records of a company, government agency, organization or institution (Adikwu, 2007).Also recordsmanagement entails all records keeping requirements and policies that allow an organization to establish and maintain control over information flow and administrative operations (State of Florida2009).Records management covers various formats: physical and electronic form, usually undertaken by a professionally trained records manager on the basis of a thorough records survey.This is so because records managements are usually better undertaken by professionally trained personnel as supported by Reitz (2004).


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